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SC HEARING ON DQ CASE

Comelec has no power to rule on bet's citizenship, residency —Poe's lawyer


The Commission on Elections has no power to decide whether or not a candidate is qualified to run for president, Senator Grace Poe's lawyer told the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon.

On questioning by Associate Justice Estrella Perlas-Bernabe, Attorney Alexander Poblador said it was up to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to decide on a candidate's fitness to run for the highest post in the land.

"I believe that all that the Comelec can do is to determine whether or not a candidate could take a position with respect to the truth or falsity of a particular declaration, only for that purpose of determining whether she acted in good faith or without intent to deceive," Poblador said.

Bernabe asked if Poe's counsel believed that the Comelec had the authority to rule on one's fitness to run for office if there was no evidence of any misrepresentation in his or her certificate of candidacy for a national post.

"The only body which can decide definitively whether or not the candidate is disqualified because of lack of residence or citizenship will be the [Senate Electoral Tribunal] or in the case of the candidate for the presidency it will be the [Presidential Electoral Tribunal]," Poblador said.

"Notwithstanding the lack of qualifications, the public has to wait for an unqualified presidential candidate to be first voted and only after that his or her qualifications may be passed upon in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal?" Bernabe asked.

"Yes, your Honor. Because remember under the constitution, the jurisdiction of the Comelec applies specificvally only to local government officials," Poblador said. —NB, GMA News

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